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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Bay to Breakers draws serious runners, but it’s also serious fun

SAN FRANCISCO – Preparing to sleep during a groggy Monday-morning flight home last May, I noticed a spot of bright green paint in the ear of the guy sitting next to me. Then I saw green remnants beneath his fingernails. And a 2- by 4-inch bandage on the side of his right foot.

Weekend to forget for Giants

SAN FRANCISCO – If the World Series champions needed a reminder that a repeat performance won’t be easy, the Atlanta Braves gave it to them this weekend. Ace Tim Lincecum struggled. Postseason star Madison Bumgarner took a loss. Then closer Brian Wilson and his bushy, black beard came in for the finale trying to salvage at least one victory.

GU men outlast Dons, set up Saint Mary’s rematch

LAS VEGAS – Gonzaga’s Marquise Carter showed why he was voted WCC newcomer of the year and reserve wing Mike Hart showed why head coach Mark Few trusts him in critical defensive situations. Second-seeded Gonzaga repelled numerous second-half rallies by No. 3 San Francisco as Carter hit seven free throws in the final 43 seconds and the Bulldogs hung on for a 71-67 victory in the WCC men’s basketball tournament semifinals Sunday in front of 7,489 at the Orleans Arena.

West Coast Conference teams jockey for top two seeds

Since the West Coast Conference adopted its current tournament format in 2003, only once has a team seeded third or higher advanced to the championship. That was No. 3 San Diego, which capitalized on home-court advantage to knock off No. 1 Gonzaga in the 2008 tournament. Outside of 2008, the last seven WCC tournaments have come and gone with the top seed defeating No. 2 five times, and the second seed topping No. 1 twice.

Reds nab Series MVP

World Series MVP Edgar Renteria (pictured) has agreed to a one-year deal with the Cincinnati Reds, who were looking for a veteran shortstop to replace Orlando Cabrera. The 35-year-old Renteria became a free agent after the Giants declined his $9.5 million contract option. His tiebreaking, three-run homer off Cliff Lee helped the Giants win the World Series. He was hurt most of the season, spending three stints on the disabled list. The Reds also agreed to a one-year contract with Fred Lewis, a left-handed hitter who can play all three outfield positions and bat leadoff. Lewis batted .262 with Toronto last season, leading the club with 17 steals. His 31 doubles were third-most by an A.L. leadoff hitter. Associated Press

NFL Notes: 49ers change QBs

The San Francisco 49ers are going back to Troy Smith as their starting quarterback while leaving open the possibility they might switch to Alex Smith at any time. Coach Mike Singletary said Thursday that Troy Smith will start Sunday’s pivotal NFC West game against the St. Louis Rams in place of Alex Smith, who started San Francisco’s last two games.

Enigmatic Niners

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The San Francisco 49ers are an NFL enigma. So bad one week, so good the next – and it’s hard to explain why. Other than inconsistency, of course.